When I was in college, I used to to read a web comic called “Tales of the Questor”. The author, a devout Christian with a great deal of spiritual insight, recently posted an article with his thoughts on the Occupy Wall St. Movement.
I was intrigued by what he said, not only because it is true, but also because critics like me tend to forget this truth.
While I can’t find a good excuse for those who are choosing to camp in public parks and local streets, I also can’t say that the current economic situation of America is entirely their fault.
Here’s what Ralph Hayes, Jr. had to say about the protestors crowding my city streets…..
Let’s be fair here.
First, they’ve done, and are doing, nothing that the generations before them haven’t.
No, I’m not referring to rioting or getting stoned or pooping in the street– though come to think of it, those things qualify too– I’m referring to spending ruinous amounts of borrowed money, digging themselves into an inescapable hole, and then throwing a tantrum when someone tells them it’s time to dig themselves out. Gee, where have I heard THIS mess before?
It wasn’t the OWS who ran up a multitrillion dollar national debt and a trillion dollar deficit— it was us.
It wasn’t the OWS who created the subprime mortgage crisis by giving money to people who almost certainly would never pay it back— it was us.
It wasn’t the OWS that created a credit-card culture where the average American household has a standing debt of fifteen THOUSAND dollars— it was us.
It wasn’t the OWS that made a nation where debt consolidation became a growth industry— it was US.
And it certainly wasn’t the OWS that made a national identity out of dodging responsibility for all of the above, and wailing to the government to come save us from our own excess….
Yet we are astonished that the masses in the OWS movement are living out the final stages of what we began?
Second, we told them to go where they ended up.
My entire high school career was spent with parents, teachers, friends and relations, counselors, even TV celebrities, chanting the exact same mantra: “Get a Loan, Go To College, Get a Degree, Succeed!” No alternative to this formula was considered. No deviation was tolerated. My entire generation– and the one before, and the one after– were told:
Massive Debt–> College–> Diploma—> ???—> Profit!
Those who didn’t dive out of high school and straight into a College or University were slackers and fools. Those who had the Sheepskin of +1 Prosperity would RULE.
Some of us did have some minor twinkling notion in the backs of our murky young minds that with College being so expensive, if you could actually afford to go, why would you need College in the first place? But of course, as every After School Special taught us, anyone who prospered without a higher education– say, by starting up a business, or entering early into the job market and finding a career path— would lose everything by the third act and spend the fourth sweeping streets for a living and bewailing the fact that they Hadn’t Gotten the Sheepskin.
Worse, we had professionals (teachers, counselors, recruiters, Human Resource managers) swearing up and down to us that “Get a college degree in X, start earning Y thousand a year right out of College!” That was the sermon, year in and year out, book, chapter and verse. The future’s so bright, Kid, you’ll have to wear shades. We all believed it.
And imagine that. the OWS brats believed it too.
I dropped out of College due to financial issues, and my own poor decision making. Don’t ask me if I ever recovered. But I can only imagine what the shock and dismay has been like for the crop of graduates who made it all the way through— my own generation, and those who are coming out now, diplomas in hand….
After all those years of work and wading through Ivory Tower BS and colleges hiking their tuition till it was cheaper to get a ride on the Space Shuttle than to get in the front door….
….to find those same fatcats with all the golden promises standing there, choking with laughter: “And you actually believed us??” And telling them to go pay off their college debt boxing french fries or shuffling mail in the mailroom.
Surprise, kids. The generation that rolled naked in the mud at Woodstock— the generation whose example you’re following even now— is now too busy milking your paycheck for their retirement funds to have the time of day for you.
They’ve been promised the moon, given the shaft, and left without even the tools and virtues necessary to properly deal with their personal catastrophe save by doing what their parents and grandparents did– whining and crying to the government to bail them out.
And naturally, they are ripe for the plucking by every destructive collectivist group out there…. just as they were made to be.